Receiving what we do not deserve (March 2019)

When my children were little, we had a rewards chart for them pinned to the door of the freezer.  The idea was, every time they did something good (like helping to clear the dinner table, or tidying their toys away) they ‘earned’ a smiley face sticker.  Five stickers meant a little reward, and ten stickers meant a big reward.   Children quickly get to realise that the more good things they do, the quicker they get to ‘earn’ their prize.  Because they are rewarded in proportion to what they deserve.  And children are quick to spot what they or others deserve, and what they do not deserve.

Imagine somebody receiving a wonderful big reward that they simply do not deserve at all.  They have not done any of the good behaviour to justify such a reward, in fact they have done quite the opposite.  Everybody knows that this person doesn’t deserve any sort of reward.   And yet he receives one anyway.  This is what grace is – receiving something good that is totally undeserved.  God gives grace in abundance.  He’s really into giving us what we do not deserve at all.  That’s because of the enormity of His love for us.  His love that is far, far higher and far, far wider, and far, far more long-lasting than we can ever get our heads around. 

God’s love for us is so enormous, that he showers us with His Grace, His enormous blessings that we really do not deserve at all.  This is God who knows everything about us, who notices every time we think or say or do something wrong, it separates us from Him.  By rights, if we received the judgement we deserve on Judgement Day, then all of us would be condemned to death. 

The reason we are not condemned, the reason we do not die, is because someone else has taken the full force of the penalty that was due to us – because Jesus died on the cross in our place.  So the penalty for our wrongdoings has been paid – paid by Jesus, so we are acquitted.   We are saved.  God by His grace sent Jesus to die for us, and by His Grace has given us what we really do not deserve - the reward of life in His love and care for evermore. That is how God works, through pouring out His Grace.  Through not just pouring out small amounts of grace so people can catch a little. 

God overflows with an enormous abundance of grace.  God showers us with so much grace we can hardly catch our breath.  This is the enormity of God’s generosity to us.  And because of that, in gratitude to God for all He gives us, we are asked to give in return.  What can we possibly give that remotely touches on the enormity of God’s grace given to us?

Well our offerings are always going to be meagre in comparison.  But we can give of our time and of our money.  (Both of which of course were first given to us by God).  There is a bit of a tendency among all of us to give ‘what is left over’.  That is hardly following God’s lead in generosity.  His grace and mercy in our lives isn’t the leftovers, it comes from the sacrifice of His only Son on the cross.  Let us each of us review what we give to God – our time, our money – and I pray that we will all learn to give sacrificially and generously, as God first gave to us.

Tina Upton


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